Sensex Index Drops, Snapping Four-Day Rally, as Housing Development Falls

India’s stocks fell, ending a four- day rally, as investors speculated policy makers may raise interest rates to stem inflation.

Housing Development Finance Corp., a mortgage lender, dropped 3 percent. India’s economy may be overheating, Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the global financial crisis, said yesterday. Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd., a copper and zinc producer, dropped the most in almost two weeks as raw material prices sank.

“All the clouds are not off the horizon,” said Apurva Shah, head of research at Prabhudas Lilladher Pvt. in Mumbai. “The reality is that India has strong growth and persistently high inflation. The broader stance of the Reserve Bank is toward tightening.” He advises investors to avoid Tata Steel Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s biggest wireless operator.

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 372.60, or 2.2 percent, to 16,572.03, its steepest drop in a week. The gauge briefly dipped as much as 3.7 percent as shares of Reliance Industries Ltd., the refiner that has the most weight in the Sensex, sank 20 percent. Bourse officials are investigating, said Kalyan Bose, a spokesman.

The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange lost 2.3 percent to 4,970.20. The BSE 200 Index retreated 2 percent to 2,109.49.

Asset Bubbles

Housing Development dropped 3 percent to 2,706.8 rupees, its steepest slide since Feb. 4. Larsen & Toubro Ltd., the nation’s biggest engineering company, declined 2.3 percent to 1,593.6 rupees. India, along with China and Brazil, may be developing asset bubbles as the economies overheat, Roubini said yesterday in Sao Paulo.

Asia’s biggest economy after Japan and China expanded 8.6 percent last quarter from 6.5 percent in the previous three months, India’s statistics office said yesterday. The Reserve Bank of India said last month it will be “cautious” in tightening monetary policy even as the country’s consumer-price inflation rate is the highest among Group of 20 nations.

The yield on the 10-year government bond rose 17 basis points last week, the biggest increase in more than a month, as traders increased bets that the central bank will raise borrowing costs.

Metals Decline

Sterlite lost 5 percent to 629 rupees. Copper, aluminum and zinc declined on concern slumping property transactions and slowing manufacturing growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, may hurt demand for commodities. Hindalco Industries Ltd., the biggest aluminum producer, decreased 4.4 percent to 143.6 rupees.

Three-month delivery copper lost 3.7 percent on the London Metal Exchange. Aluminum shed 2.1 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.2 percent, snapping a four-day advance. The gauge slumped 9.8 percent last month, the most since October 2008 as concerns grew that budget deficits in Europe and Chinese measures to control property prices will hurt the global economy.

Overseas investors bought a net 4.84 billion rupees ($103.9 million) of Indian stocks on May 28, increasing total purchases of the stocks this year to 205.7 billion rupees, according to the nation’s market regulator.

Inflows from overseas reached a record 834.2 billion rupees in 2009, exceeding the high set two years earlier in domestic currency terms, as the biggest rally in 18 years lured foreign funds. They sold a record 529.9 billion rupees of shares in 2008, triggering a record annual decline.

The following were among the most active on the exchange:

Future Capital Holdings Ltd. (FCHL IN) gained 2.4 percent to 153.95 rupees after 1.6 percent of its shares changed hands in a single transaction. Buyers and sellers weren’t immediately available.

JM Financial Ltd. (JM IN), a holding company with investments in financial services, climbed 11 percent to 42.25 rupees. A unit of Morgan Stanley bought a 2.5 percent stake, stock exchange data showed.

Hotel Leela Venture Ltd. (LELA IN), the hotelier aligned with Kempinski AG, gained 1 percent to 45.85 rupees. ITC Ltd., a tobacco maker that also has hotel investments, raised its stake to 10 percent, according to a statement on the Bombay Stock Exchange dated May 28.

Nirma Ltd. (NIRMA IN), a detergent maker, dropped 2.2 percent to 185.85 rupees. Fourth-quarter profit fell to 259.9 million rupees from 600.3 million rupees a year earlier, the company said in a filing today.

Tata Communications Ltd. (TCOM IN), a telecommunications service provider, fell 4 percent to 235.55 rupees, its lowest since June 2005. The company posted a loss of 5.98 billion rupees in the year ended March, compared with a 3.16 billion rupees profit in the previous year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajhkumar K Shaaw in Mumbai at rshaaw@bloomberg.net.

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